Starting Seeds for the Organic Family Garden

Our bell pepper seedlings!
"One, two, three...twenty-four, twenty-five..."  the kids and I have been counting excitedly over the past few days! We're observing and lightly watering our vegetable seeds.  Just a week since we started them, more than half of the sweet bell pepper seeds have germinated and become visible above the soil. Each time we check on them, another one has sprouted.  The kids each want a turn spritzing the tiny plants with water. 

Mixing water with seed starter mix

Our project began outdoors, where we mixed water into a sterile seed starter mix (we have made our own but bought it this time for convenience).  It was a fun way to get our hands dirty and play in the mud.  We filled our trays using teaspoons and poked holes with our fingers to easily plant the seeds before bringing them indoors.  We started them on a waterproof heating pad designed especially for seedlings, in front of a Southern facing window offering them some moderate daily light.  We're making sure they don't get dry and they're in a room with some air circulation.
Planting tomato seeds
Tomato seeds

When starting our vegetables last year, we noticed that bell peppers took longer than tomatoes.  So, this year we've started the peppers first, staggering the start times of tomatoes after that.  We bought Napoleon Sweet peppers from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange in Virginia.
Filling containers for pepper seeds
We recently started Tomato Ozark Pink tomatoes from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.  Although these are touted as great for the Ozark Mountains and other hot, humid areas, developed by the University of Arkansas, Tomato Ozark Pink are open pollinated and not genetically modified.  We purchased those tomato seeds during our recent visit to Baker Creek's headquarters in Mansfield, Missouri.
We gleefully opened the package sent from Wood Prairie Farm in Bridgewater, Maine, where the Gerritsen family grows some of the best seed potatoes around.  We'd ordered the "Experimenter's Special" of four different potato varieties.  We're patiently waiting for the ground to reach 50 degrees so we can plant those.
Seed potatoes
Next, we'll be working more compost into the vegetable garden beds in preparation for outdoor planting time. We're excited about another season of growing some of our own food with organic, sustainable methods.

What food will your family grow this year?  Isn't it exciting to know that every family can grow some of its own fresh, organic vegetables?

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